The national government has been challenged to scrap taxation on the importation of conservation Agriculture machineries to promote the adaptation of the technology among Kenyan farmers.
Trans Nzoia Governor Patrick Khaemba said the taxation rates on the equipment and its accessories has discouraged farmers in the North Rift region from warming up to the practice which is efficient.
“We call on the national government to scrap the heavy taxation which has made the cost of the equipment too expensive to be afforded by our farmers,” observed Governor Khaemba.
The county boss spoke in an address to farmers at a two day Agribusiness Expo organized by the East African Grain Council (EAGC) at the Kitale National Polytechnic. The event features Agriculture sector exhibitions.
The Governor noted that modern farming practices which are over-dependent on tiling have destroyed the soil structure and beneficial organisms resulting to increased infertility and soil erosion.
Conservation agriculture is based on three principles – minimizing soil disturbance; maintaining a continuous soil cover of organic mulch and/or plants, and cultivating diverse plant species.
“We need to minimize tilling to reduce the disruption of the topsoil structure. This will keep the soil more stable, increase drainage and slow down runoffs that lead to floods,” said Khaemba.
EAGC’s executive officer Gerald Masila observed that most farmers have failed to maximize their returns owing to a host of challenges that have seen them realize low yields amidst increasing cost of production.
“We want farmers to embrace modern farming techniques that are environment friendly. This will minimize the cost of production and increase their productivity for better returns,” said Mr. Masila.
Among the challenges singled out were unstable market prices, post-harvest losses, limited knowledge of the market trends and a failure to embrace modern farming techniques.
“The expo which has been organized in conjunction with several partners has attracted exhibitors from the seed production, livestock production, agronomy and fertilizer production sectors showcase,” he said.